Connecting state and local government leaders
Also: Remote Alaskan school doesn’t meet enrollment minimum and Tussock moths ruin Christmas tradition in Colorado.
Here’s some of what we’ve been reading today …
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama: The Yellowhammer State’s biggest city is on the receiving end of some unflattering national attention from an incident involving Birmingham Mayor William Bell and a councilmember, Marcus Lundy, who now faces an arrest warrant over a fight at City Hall. As AL.com reports, it “doesn't matter who started it or who won because, in the end, it's clear the entire city lost.” A report filed in the incident accuses Lundy of grabbing the mayor from behind and putting him in a chokehold. [AL.com]
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia: Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration unveiled a Vision Zero strategy aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities. Besides increasing the number of bicycle lanes, boosting pedestrian infrastructure and reducing speed limits, the District of Columbia has an ambitious plan to expand the already robust automated traffic enforcement program. As The Washington Post reports, fines for excessive speeding—25 mph above the posted speed limits—will rise to $1,000. As WAMU / 88.5 News reports, D.C.’s Vision Zero “56-page plan recommends more than 60 actions covering the redesign of streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes, the comprehensive collection and publication of crash data, and a crackdown on potentially dangerous driving in the form of new rules and heavy fines.” [The Washington Post; WAMU / 88.5 News]
LANSING, Michigan: Gov. Rick Snyder approved legislation that will allow retired teachers to come back to the classroom to help ease full-time educator vacancies in certain subjects while also not jeopardizing pension and health care benefits. [The Associated Press via The Detroit News]
PIKE NATIONAL FOREST, Colorado: Tussock moths are putting a damper on Christmas in part of Colorado. The insects have been “chewing up” evergreen trees, including the Douglas fir. According to Colorado Public Radio, the U.S. Forest Service has limited the number of permits in the Buffalo Creek Christmas Tree Area, making getting a tree for the Christmas holiday more difficult. [Colorado Public Radio]
BEAVER, Alaska: A school in this remote community about 100 miles north of Fairbanks doesn’t meet Alaska’s minimum enrollment needed for state funding, but the Cruikshank School will remain open with only eight students, the Alaska News Dispatch reports. The enrollment minimum is 10 students. “We struggled with this,” Laurie Thomas, the Yukon Flats school board president said. “No board wants to close a school ever.” The school district is spending $200,000 to keep the school open. [Alaska News Dispatch]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.